Jack Dempsey, Harry Greb, Jack Johnson, the list goes on, but party animal Mike Tyson was the greatest party king of them all.
When Mike Tyson started training under Cus D’Amato in his early teens, he had a long way to go before becoming party animal Mike Tyson
Gus D’Amato met Tyson early on while Mike was in a reform school. From that point on D’Amato literally became a father to Tyson, adopting him while teaching him the boxing skills that would make him the world’s heavyweight champion. Under D’Amato’s tutelage, Iron Mike won 26 of his first 28 professional fights by either KO or TKO.
But when D’Amato died in November 1985, Kevin Roony continued on as Iron Mike’s long-time trainer. Under D’Amato’s and Rooney’s supervision, the short for a heavyweight 5-foot eleven Tyson’s signature traits started with the peek-a-boo technique Cue had taught former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson. With his hands in front of his face placed closely together, Tyson learned how to bob and weave while crouching down low from which he could use his entire body like a spring to inflict devastating blows to his opponent’s face or body.
Tyson gets a shot at the boxing WBC title soon after he knocks out Marvis Frazier in the first round. 7-26-1986
Although the fight between Marvis Frazier doesn’t even last one round, it sets the twenty-year-old Mike Tyson up for the WBA heavyweight world championship.
MIke Tyson KO’s Marvis Frazer
WIns WBC title from Trevor Berbick 11-22-1986
This WBC title fight ends in the 2nd round. But when you listen to the ring announcer at the beginning of the fight, the issue is not in doubt. Berbick, the champion comes in to fight, taking the fight to Tyson early on. Showing off a false bravado while Berbick throws away his 7 inch rich advantage to the five foot eleven Tyson. Halfway through the first round the announcer shouts, “He will get knocked out very soon.” The announcer continues, “Tyson throws his punches in bunches.”
In the second round Tyson knocks Berbick down. As the soon to be ex-champ gets off the canvas, Tyson continues his barrage until Berbick goes down a second time. At first it seems Berbick can get up and beat the count. His legs turned to rubber he falls back unable to rise as the referee counts him out.
Let’s keep in mind that Tyson weighted just 221 pounds when fighting Berbick and just 217 pounds when he knocked out Marvis Frazier. So Please note that Mike’s fighting weight goes up as he becomes party animal Mike Tyson.
Party animal Mike Tyson’s odds of winning or losing a fight acccording to Jack Corbett’s “Principles of weight gain or loss applied to the odds of winning or losing Heavyweight championship fights.
Unfortunately I never was able to retrieve the paper I did on it in my college statisitics class while getting my MBA at Saint Louis University,
But what I did was to compile all the recorded Heavyweight championship fights from 1900 to 1975. I constructed a table. From the reference point of whether a heavyweight champion WON or LOSS, on the X axis of my graph, there’s just two possible outcomes for the heavyweight champion defending his title. Then on the Y axis I created four new columns. With the first column for figures of a weight gain of 5 pounds, the second for a weight gain of 10 pounds, the third column for a weight gain of 15 po0unes and the fourth new column for a weight gain of 20 pounds.
Tyson beats James Smith to win the WBA title on 3-7-1987.
I then assumed that when any fighter took the heavyweight crown away from the reigning Heavyweight champion, the challenger was at his optimum fighting weight. This is because the challenger is so hungry to earn the championship title that he is willing to do practically anything to get it. He will be training as hard as he can. So, he’s going to enter the ring in his best shape ever. While during the fight he’s going to go all out.
But once the challenger becomes heavyweight champion, a long barrage of temptations comes into play. Such as drugs and alcohol, women, and all those fake friends who view the world champion as their favorite milk cow.
So what happens is when a fighter defends his heavyweight title at over 5 pounds more than his optimum fighting weight, his chances of keeping his title is appreciably less.
While if his weight for a given fight lands in the third column denoting a weight gain of over 15 pounds, his chances of keeping the title are well below 35 percent. But if he’s over 20 pounds overweight his chances of keeping the Heacyweight belt are close to zero.
Tyson now goes for the WBA title when he takes on James Smith.
As the fight starts my initial impression of the 233-pound Smith is of a lumberjack because Smith appears to be lumbering about the ring. My next impression of the stony-faced Smith is of Gerald Ford. My next impression is of Frankenstein. As for Tyson, it doesn’t seem like Iron Mike’s out for the kill. Although he’s come to the fight at a svelte 219 pounds, Mike just doesn’t seem to be his usual self as the fight drags on into the 12th and final round. The crowd starts to boo both fighters during throughout the final round as Mike wins a unanimous decision.
Mike Tyson gets the decision over Tony Tucker for the (IBF) International Boxing Federation Heavyweight title. 8-1-1987
Mike Tyson Knocks out Latty Holmes 1-22-1988
Both fighters have a lot to prove in this match between Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson. According to the fight commentator, Holmes feels unappreciated. Although he had been champion for 7 straight years, while possessing one of the best jabs in boxing, Holmes is no Ali. While in my opinion, Tyson wants to avenge Larry’s technical knockout of an aging way past his prime Ali on October 2, 1980. But Larry was 31 when he defeated the 38 year old Ali. Now he’s 38. While weighing 225 pounds to the 215 pound Tyson who appears supremely fit. To me Holmes appears a bit fat and well past his prime.
The fight goes into the 4th round. Tyson knocks Holmes down 3 times before finally flattening him to win the fight.
While my impression of the two fighters is spot on. This is not the party animal Mike Tyson who will appear later in his career. As he admits in his book, Undisputed Truth, Tyson is out to avenge Holmes 1980 defeat of Ali. Because it so happens that Ali had been Tyson’s idoal from his boyhood on. In his fight to Mike’s out for blood. He wants to totally dominate and humiliate Holmes, much more than he wants to knock him out early in the fight.
Tysons weighs in at 215 pounds, which is five pounds less than his optimum fighting weight. He’s like a man-eating tiger that wants to tear apart its adversary from limb to limb.
Tyson vs MIchael Spinks 6-27-1988
At this stage of his career if anyone appeared to have a chance of defeating MIke Tyson that man was Michael Spinks. I remember when MIchael’s older brother defeate3d Muhammed Ali that Michael was then fighting as a Middleweight. And that back then a lot of boxing pundits were claiming that younger brother Michael was a much better fighter than Leon.
When Michael entered the ring with Tyson his record stood at 31 wins out of 31 fights with 21 knockouts. Spinks had become the only light heavyweight to defeat a reigning heavyweight champion when he beat the undefeated Larry Holmes by decision. But Spinks weighted 200 pounds when he fought Holmes after gaining 25 pounds over his normal fighting weight. The six-foot three-inch Spinks now weighed 212 pounds to Tyson’s 218.
Although Tyson stood only 5 feet eleven inches tall and normally fought at around 215 he appeared to be extremely well proportioned.
The result was Tyson slaughtered Spikes in one and a half minutes of the first round. Before the fight even started one of the commentators kept commenting, “Can Spinks survive the extreme pressure Tyson’s going to put him through?” During the entire short duration of the fight Tyson was all over Spinks. While showing what a fast talented heavyweight can do to a natural light heavyweight. Which usually can be expected.
At the end of the fight, Tyson’ said, “I won this fight because I am the better fighter. I am the best fighter in the world. I can beat anyone. People think I am only a slugger. ”
Now it’s my turn to comment. Tyson fought with the explosive power of dynamite in either hand. He could do it all. He was fast. While Mike could and did knock men out with one of the best uppercuts in boxing. Or with a body punch to the chest. He was relentless, fighting nonstop while taking the fight to his opponents. At this point in his career Tyson was unstoppable.
Against a natural heavyweight as talented as Tyson, Spinks fought at 212 pounds 37 pounds heavier than his natural weight at light heavyweight. Resulting in Tyson being able to explode right through Spinks as unstoppable as a tornedo.
As a proscript to Tyson overwhelming Michael Spinks, here’s another Michael Spinks when he outpointed Heavyweight champion Larry Holmes.
If there’s no question that Michael Spinks was one of the greatest, if not the greatest light heavyweight of all time, consider this. Michael is the only light heavyweight to ever defeat the reigning heavyweight champion. Holmes goes into this fight undefeated with 42 victories under his belt. Holmes is just one victory shy of equaling Rocky Marciano’s perfect record of 43 victories with no defeats. But Holmes is not up to it. Michael Spinks dominates the much more powerful Holmes. He’s fast. He’s elusive. He fights the perfect fight.
Although he will soon be devasted by Tyson, Michael Spinks will retire right afterwards. Retiring from the ring as a multimillionaire. Earning 13 million from the Tyson fight alone, Spinks will become one of the few affluent fighters to retire with his face and brain intact.
Loses to Buster Douglas 2-11-1990
On 2-11-1990 a 231`pound Buster Douglas stunned the boxing world by knocking out the undefeated Iron Mike Tyson in the 8th round. From the very beginning of the fight something seemed to be very wrong with the announcer commenting, “Tyson almost looks bored as he enters the ring.”
Which was 100 percent spot on. In his book, Undisputed Truth, Tyson admits he had not real interest in fighting anymore—only partying and women.
While the ring announcers announced in the early rounds, Douglas looks like he’s come to fight, Tyson performance is untypically lackluster. He throws very few uppercuts, his signature punch. While his timing seems way off.
In the eight round, Tyson finally connects with an uppercut to Douglas’s head and floors him, but Douglas rises at the count of eight.
In the tenth round Douglas stuns Tysson with an uppercut which he immediately follows with three successive punches.
So why did the previously unstoppable Iron Mike Tyson succumb to a man who had an unremarkable 29-4-1 record with 19 Ko’s?
At this point in his career Mike had hired Don Kong to promote his fights. And Don had insisted on Mike’s firing everyone associated with the Cus D’Amato team that had guided him to three world heavyweight titles. Cus, who had been a father figure to Mike until his death in 1985 had hired Kevin Rooney as Mike’s brainer.
Mike’s career started to fall apart once he hired Don King to promote his fights. By this time his marriage to Robin Givens had started to fall apart. And between Robin and Don King insistence Mike fired his trainer Kevin Rooney and practically everyone else on his training staff.
By the time Tyson came to Tokyo to fight Douglas, his life had become a sequence of endless every night partying, drugs and alcohol.
Tyson arrives in Tokyo 30 pounds overweight. And states in his book that he hardly trained at all for this fight. While confessing he had sex with two women the day before the fight and two more that night. Altho9ugh he is able to lose most of the excess weight, he still enters the ring heavier than he had ever fought at before.
With no Kevin Roony or Cus D’Amato to reign him in. While in facing Douglas Tyson was pitting himself against a man whose boxing style was all too wrong. His lack of training and top physical conditioning caused him to lose the ability to bob and weave to avoid being hit or to keep up the fast hard hitting volume punching that had given him the ability to overpower taller heavier fighters like Douglas.
But Douglas arrived in the ring in the best physical condition in his life. While hearing all about Tyson’s almost total lack of training for the right and endless partying. Unlike so many of Tyson’s previous opponents who were terrified of Mike’s punching prowess. Douglas was not intimidated whatsoever. By the time Tyson went down in the eighth round, the six foot four Douglas succeeded in cutting Tyson down to size in practically every single round.
In April 1992 Mike Tyson sent to prison for allegedly raping Desiree Washington
He serves less three years of his 6-year sentence. My take on Mike’s conviction. Although I had hardly ever viewed any films of Mike’s boxing matches, I didn’t care for him because friends of mine were telling me he was greater than Muhammad Ali ever was. Because Ali was my greatest hero favoring Tyson over Ali was heresy.
But as soon as I heard that Desiree Washington was accusing Tyson of raping her, I knew in my heart that Mike was innocent. As Heavyweight champion of the world Mike could have just about any woman he wanted. So why rape someone who didn’t want to have sex with him? The whole case reminded me of “in like Flynn” when Errol Flynn had to defend himself against two underaged women took him to court for having sex with them on his sailboat, the Scirocco. The judge dismissed the case when the judge determined that the two girls had never been on the Scirocco.
A key point was Desiree Washington admitted that she had gone to Mike’s hotel room with him. So if not for sex, did she expect to play checkers with Mike. Bake cookies? I figured she was a liar. And that like too many women she was out to get her name in the papers and to pad her bank account with money she had not earned or deserved.
Loses to Evander Holyfield 9-11-1996
Coming off three years of inactivity buie to his being in prison. Holyfield appears much stronger. Confident. Has all the tools. Lots of headbutts, hitting below the belt on one occasion. Clinching. Holyfield almost knocks Tyson out in the 10th round. Tyson looks like a dying fish at the beginning of the 11th round as Holyfield turns him into a human punching bag. Just past 30 seconds of the 11th round the ref calls it.
In my opinion at this stage of his career, Tyson was not as good or strong as Holyfield was. He had just spent three years in prison. While his soon to be ex-wife, Robin Givens and her mother were trying to gold dig him for all that he was worth. They had convinced him to fire Kevin Rooney, who was largely responsible for instilling in Mike the bobbing boxing style from a crouch that Cus D’Amato had taught him that was accompanied by the volume punching that distinguished Mike from his peers. Once the unstoppable Iron Mike had become party animal Mike Tyson with his former trainers who might have helped him regain his former boxing skills now gone, Mike would never be the same again.
Mike Tyson bites Evander Holyfield’s ear off 6-28-1997
Tyson vs Lennox Lewis 8-6-2002
When he fights Lennox Lewis at 234 pounds, as a fighter party animal Mike Tyson’s about all used up. He’s 14 pounds over his optimum fighting weight of 220 pounds when he was going all out to win the WBC and WBA titles. As he admits in his book, Undisputed Truth, he’s no longer taking winning or losing in the ring to be all that important at this stage of his career.
In recent years a new Mike Tyson has emerged. A thoughtful well-read Mike. Who admits that he regrets the mistakes of his part. While becoming one of today’s most inciteful and respected boxing Historians. In his book, Undisputed Truth, he holds mothing back. For all the problems he’s encountered he puts most of the blame on himself. Even though he doesn’t spare his contempt for boxing promoter Don King, his ex-wife Robin GIvens, his ex-mother-in-law, and several other miscreants.